Peter Bart on Wednesday put to rest rumors that he is gay and dating Bill O’Reilly.
The host of The O’Reilly Factor and the editorial director of Variety were the targets of a bizarre Internet hoax on Wednesday in which Bart, who is married to Phyllis Fredette, comes out of the closet as a gay man who intends on marrying O’Reilly.
At the website www.peterbart.org, a Bart impostor repeatedly refers to O’Reilly as “she” and claims they’ll marry soon and live in a house together on Cape Cod.
On Wednesday, entertainment industry journalists, including several at The Hollywood Reporter, were receiving emails from faux Bart directing them to the website.
The subject field of the email reads “Peter Bart Variety Wedding Invite,” and the body of the grammatically challenged email reads: “This is Peter Bart The Editorial Director from Variety. I have been living a lie for years, I am gay and dating Bill O’Reilly. You are invited to our Wedding. Further Details are on my Website. www.peterbart.org. Lots of Love Peter and Bill.”
Contacted by phone, Bart said the information in the email and at the website is untrue and that he has no idea who is behind the hoax.
“I wish I did,” he laughed. “I have absolutely none. I found out when I got an email from a couple of friends… if you find out, let me know!”
For the record, a spokeswoman for Fox News said neither the network or O’Reilly have any idea who is behind the hoax, either.
Like the email, the website is slapdash and full of childish errors, run-on sentences and randomly capitalized words. Example:
“I am Gay and I think I always have been I am dating Bill O’Reilly from Fox and we are very much in love Bill is ever so sweet in real life all the redneck stuff he spouts on Fox is just showbiz, In real life She is so sweet just this morning I awoke with a daisy chain on my pillow that Bill picked and left there with a note ‘Je T’aimerai Ma Cherie’ She speaks French I could have melted.”
“It’s not true,” Bart told THR. “I know Bill O’Reilly a little bit. I had lunch with him five years ago.”
The website also includes a link for emailing Bart, but if strangers are emailing him it is anyone’s guess as to where those messages are going, because Bart says he hasn’t received any.
“I just got three or four emails from friends saying, ‘this is hilarious,’” Bart said.